Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rich Man, Poor Man (Not the TV show)

     The account can be found in Luke chapter 16 in the Bible. It tells the story of a rich man who had a grand feast every day. He wasn't hurting anyone. He hadn't killed or stolen, hadn't been cruel to anyone. He was minding his own business and was even giving the poor beggar, Lazarus, the leftovers. Now Lazarus wasn't just poor. He was an outcast, probably a leper who by law had to stay outside the city gates so as not to infect anyone else. Dogs would come and lick his sores. The dogs and the leftover food were the only apparent comforts Lazarus had.
    But God loved him and the rich man and the dogs were God's provision. Now you may think God wasn't much of a provider if that's all He did, but there is no record of Lazarus whining and bemoaning his fate.
    Both men died but did not end up in the same place. The rich man died and went to hell. Lazarus went to a place called Sheol, or Abraham's bosom. This was a holding place for Old Testament believers, people who were eagerly awaiting the coming of their Messiah (savior, or deliverer).
    The rich man lifted up his eyes, being in torment, to the place where Lazarus was waiting with believers who had gone on before: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah and Elisha, Joshua, Moses, and others. He begged Abraham, the father of the Jewish Nation, to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and sprinkle it on his tongue that he might be cooled.
    Father Abraham replied, "In life you received your reward. You had everything you wanted and lacked for nothing while Lazarus spent his life in want and suffering. There is a great gulf fixed between you and us. Lazarus cannot come to you, and you cannot come here."
    The rich man said he was being tormented in the flame. This appears to be a true story since Jesus never mentioned names in his parables. Many people refuse to believe in hell but that does not erase its existence and will not prevent you from going there if you don't ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Are you really willing to take the chance that you might be wrong because you want to party in this life? You will not be glad you did when this life is over. Think about it. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentence. Hell was created for Satan and his demons, but God will not force anyone to go to heaven. Jesus is the only way to get there. Like I said, think about it. The choice is yours.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Definitions

    Just to recap: "born again" refers to a spiritual birth upon asking God's forgiveness for your sin and asking Him to make you more like Him. "Salvation" or "being saved" is what happens when we repent (tell God we're sorry and TURN AWAY from deliberate sin). When we accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we are saved from the penalty that is rightfully ours.
    The next thing I want to explain is eternal or everlasting life. There are people who believe that we are only saved (kept from hell) as long as we don't sin. They teach that if a Christian (follower of Jesus Christ--not any one church or denomination) dies without telling God they are sorry and asking to be saved again, that they will die and go to hell. That would make God a liar and would not be eternal life. It would be temporary, conditional salvation. Please understand, I bear no animosity or criticism of those who teach these things. They believe they are right; they are not intentionally teaching false doctrine.
    What does the Bible say about it? Isaiah 64:6 says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." We can never be good enough for God. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    These verses are taken from the Old Testament (the law) and show us that no matter how hard we try, we cannot win God's favor on our own. No one can be perfect.
    Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no not one."
    Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." It is a gift; it cannot be earned. If we can't earn it, we can't keep it. God never takes His gifts back.
    John 10:28 29 says, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." These are the words of Jesus. Some people teach that this means no one other than yourself can pluck you out of Jesus's hand. If we are in Jesus's hand and the Father has His hand covering Jesus's hand, how are we going to get out? We aren't. Ephesians 4:30 tells us that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. The day of redemption is when God takes us home to be with Him. Sealed refers to a huge book in heaven wherein are written all the names of believers in Christ. The only one who can break that seal is "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world," the Lord Jesus himself. If we can't break the seal we can't take our names out of the book.
    We may get angry with God. We may backslide and go back to the world for a while. If we are truly God's children, we will not be happy in the world, doing the things we used to do. There will be a fierce internal battle between our flesh and the Holy Spirit of God who takes up residence in our hearts once we are saved. We may die in our sins and lose any peace and blessings. We may make God very angry with us and bring down His punishment, but we will not lose our salvation.
    Not all problems are due to sin in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to go through hardship in order to teach us something, to make us stronger, and so others can see how God helps us through stuff.
    More tomorrow. God bless.
    Aleta Kay

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Biblical Terms Defined

     In my last blog I said I would define some of the terms Christians use in trying to tell people how to get to heaven.
    John chapter 3 starts out with the account of a Jewish religious leader coming to Jesus at night (to avoid being seen by his superiors) to ask some questions. Jesus knew what was in Nicodemus's heart and went straight to the real issue. In verse 3 Jesus answered him, "...except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
    Nicodemus was an old man and a teacher of the Jewish law. He answered Jesus, "How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb?"
    Jesus's answer was unlike anything anyone had ever heard before. He said, "...except a man be born of water and of the spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God. For that which is born of the flesh (the natural birth from the sac of water) and of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost) is spirit. A few verses later Jesus said, "No man has ascended up to heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (story in the book of Exodus), even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (Jesus is also called the Son of man) That whoever believes in him (Jesus) should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
    This is talking about saving us from our sins. Many people think they are too bad for God to love them; too bad to be accepted by God. There is no such person. God wants to forgive everyone--even the vilest rapist, the pedophile, the drug dealer. Why? Because we are all sinners and God doesn't see one sin as worse than another. We all, every single one of us deserves hell. No matter how hard we try to be good, something happens and we end up doing things we later regret or saying things we regret. We can't help it. That's why we can never earn salvation. We will never be as good as Jesus and He is the measuring stick God uses. We needed someone to take our punishment for our sins. Jesus came to save us from being a slave to our own sin nature. Not that we will be perfect but our attitude towards our sin will change.
    More tomorrow.
    Aleta Kay

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What the World Needs Now is Love

     We live in a day and time when there seems to be more and more hatred. It seems every day there are more and more reports of violent crimes. Regardless of who the victims are, the fact is hate is a characteristic of Satan. Satan hates God. The Bible, God's word, tells us that we are created in His image. Just as God is spirit, soul and mind, so also are we. Every person on the planet is created for a purpose. God loves every single person on the earth. He doesn't always love what we do or what we become, but His grace, mercy and forgiveness are available freely to all who will believe.
     The greatest evil in the world is the suffering we cause one another--on purpose. The worst thing is when people who claim to love God, who claim to be His children, commit violence or malicious protest against anyone. How we can we expect the world we live in to believe God is a God of love if we act and react with hatred? What a dishonor to His holy name! We need to repent of the evil we do in His name. How dare we malign our Savior in such a way? The apostle Paul stopped murdering when he met Jesus. He confronted hypocrisy in the church.
     2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways (remember--this is talking to Christians, God's people), then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
     If we want our nation to get back on solid ground, if we want to continue to be blessed, then let's stop attacking each other. Let's stop blaming and criticizing. Let's get on our knees, repent of our own sin and faithlessness, seek God's face, turn from our own wickedness, and ask our heavenly Father what we can do to make this a better place for us and our children. If we keep busy doing the Lord's will, we won't have time to criticize and harm others.
Aleta Kay

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Those Hypocrites!

     I know there are some scoffers out there who think the church is full of hypocrites and you don't want to be around them. Unfortunately, it is true; there are hypocrites in church. But you go to work with them. You go to sporting events with them. You go to the grocery store with them. They are everywhere, not just in church. Why would you let a phony keep you away from God? They will have to answer to God for their falsehood. But if they don't go to church, if they don't hear the truth of God's word, how will they ever change? Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
     I use the word saints loosely. The Catholic church deems people saints who have done an enormous amount of good for poor people or who have lived an exemplary life according to the Catholic faith. The Bible says all true believers in Christ, those who have repented (asked forgiveness for AND turned away from) of their sins are saints. It doesn't mean we are perfect or holier than everyone else.
     I saw a bumper sticker once that I liked very much. It said, "Christians aren't perfect, just He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. When Christ died on the cross for us, He paid the penalty for all of our sins. But His forgiveness is only available when we repent and ask for that forgiveness. Once we have told Him we are sorry for our sins, and ask Him to forgive us, the Bible says He cleanses us from all our sin.
     That doesn't mean we never sin again. We are stuck with our humanness and are continually battling our tempers, our tongue (the things we say), the things in this world that tempt us to do things contrary to God's will. We will battle them until the day we die. But as we learn to ask God the Holy Spirit to help us ot to give in to those temptations, we become stronger against them, and little by little we do fewer of those things. It is a process. Sometimes it's painful, but God is always with us.
     Monday I will explain what some our Christian terms mean to help those who are confused about all of this "religion."  God bless.
                         Aleta Kay

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Do I Know God Will Answer My Prayers?

     Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call unto me and I will answer thee, and and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not."
     Malachi 3:6a says, "For I am the Lord, I change not."
     In other words, you can trust God. He doesn't change His attitude; He doesn't change His character. He doesn't waffle on His promises. He always keeps His word.
     There are some conditions. 1) You must be His child. The first prayer He will hear from you is "Lord, thank you for dying on a cruel cross for my sin. Please forgive me for my sins. I give my heart to you and ask you to be my Lord and Savior. Help me to be more like you." Your life will not magically become perfect and all your problems disappear, but you will have someone with you 24/7 who can help you through anything. Jesus promised never to leave you or forsake you.
     2) John 15: 7 is part of a lesson Jesus was teaching. In this verse he says, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it will be done unto you." He follows this with an illustration of fruit abiding in the vine. If you've ever seen a grape vine you know that if you pluck a cluster of grapes they don't continue growing and living after that. They immediately begin the process of dying. Jesus is the source of our life. He is the one that sustains us and teaches us how to live the life he has planned for us. If we read and study his word, the Bible, and memorize it so that it takes root in our heart, it will change the way we think and make decisions. When our thinking and our will begin to line up with his, our and his will coincide. It is at that point that we can ask anything and know he will do what we ask. We will be asking what he wants anyway.
     For example, the Bible tells us that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentnce. When we ask Jesus to work in someone's life it is already his will and he will do it. He will not force them, but he will give them the opportunity to be saved (tell him they are sorry for their sin and ask Jesus to save them from their sin and make them more like him). It will happen in his time, not yours, but he will do what you ask.
    If you get lazy in your relationship with the Lord and don't pray except for when you have a problem, he may not answer your prayers. If your children only call you or speak to you when they want something are you going to give them what they want? Neither will God.
     More in a couple of days or so.
Aleta Kay

Monday, July 18, 2011

Look What the Lord Has Done!

by Aleta Kay

     As promised, here is my personal story (or some of it) of what God has done in my life.
    Let me start by saying I was not raised in a Christian home. We never even went to church until I was in high school, and then it was sporadic. I grew up believing I was the ugliest, dumbest thing God ever made. I know many other people who have also struggled with a poor self image and total lack of confidence. It is very difficult to overcome, but not impossible, because the Bible, God's word, says "With God all things are possible."
    All through high school I went to Methodist Youth Fellowship. I had a great time in my own backward way, but I never once heard that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. I didn't hear that until after I was married. (Something else I believed was out of reach for me until guys started to notice me in business school.)
    I met my wonderful husband while we were in business school. Neither one of us were Christians. I got pregnant and we got married. He joined the Coast Guard to provide a living for us. When he was due to get out of the Coast Guard they kept losing the paperwork for his out-processing physical. He sent our son and myself home to his family ahead of him, expecting to join us just a day or two later. He called every night, sounding more discouraged each time his release was delayed.
    While he was away his younger sister took me to a Billy Graham movie where the love of God was portrayed so clearly it broke my heart to realize the God of the universe loved me: worthless, unlovable, useless ME! Not only did He love me, He took the penalty for my sins, died on a cross, went to hell for my punishment, then rose again victorious to provide a place for me in heaven.
    The night I got saved (told Jesus I was sorry for my sins and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior and make me more like Him) I asked Him to let me know when my husband was coming home so I could have a special meal prepared. I dreamed I got a telegram in giant letters saying "Tom will be home on Friday." I went to the grocery store with my mother-in-law and purchased the foods I would need to prepare that meal. Not only did he come home on Friday; we had the house to ourselves. His parents were out and our son was in bed asleep. That was my first answer to prayer. I was so excited.
    Since then God has taken a marriage that was doomed to divorce, turned it around and made it better than we ever could have imagined. God has taken me, this little nobody, and has allowed me to live in West Germany for 2 1/2 years while Tom was in the army; He has allowed me to see Paris, France, tour around Holland, drive across Canada into Alaska during the summer of 2001, and take a caravan tour through Newfoundland in 2005. He has blessed us with two children and six grandchildren. He has allowed me to publish two novels, write for local newspapers, and now this blog where I have the freedom to tell others how wonderful He is.
    I almost forgot: God has taght me to like myself. I still struggle with low self-esteem sometimes, but I am a cherished wife, mother, and child of God. He can do the same and more for you. He wants to. He's just waiting for you to ask. He's a gentleman. He'll never force Himself on you. God bless.   

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Power of Prayer Part 2

by Aleta Kay
     God created prayer so we could communicate with Him. He has a vast storehouse of promises in His word that He wants us to use. Those promises increase our faith, show us how much we need Him. It also provides us a way to plead with Him on behalf of others we care about. If we never had a problem we’d never know the depth of God’s love or the breadth of His care. We’d never know how much He’s able to help us, or how much He wants to help us.
    Prayer and praise release His power in our lives. God has chosen to open this avenue to us. He wants fellowship with us. He wants us to depend on Him. God created us to have fellowship with Him.
    We all know people who like to brag about having met some rock star or some celebrity. Well, as Christians we can claim Jesus the Christ as our high priest, our lawyer who pleads on our behalf, and God as our heavenly Father. Nobody can top that! There’s no better relationship on earth than that Father/child relationship only born again believers in Christ have with Almighty God.
     I have seen people healed through the power of prayer when all the doctors had given up. I have personally witnessed the healing of someone who was on so much medication she could barely move out of her home. She was a diabetic with many other health problems as well. But after she went to a healing conference with either John Hagee or Benny Hinn, I can’t remember which, she came home and could walk across the street. She was able to get off her medication little by little. She is completely healed now. She didn’t even get to meet the preacher, one of his staff simply prayed with her and that was the beginning.
     I have seen God work in my own life. God is so awesome! I will tell you my story on my next post.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Power of Prayer Part I

by Aleta Kay

     I have written many articles about the family and marriage, the role of women in the family. But this is the most important thing you can do: pray. I don’t mean just say a few quick words and be on your way. I mean earnest, heartfelt prayer that pleads on behalf of others. Prayer is words and words have power.
     God used words to speak everything into existence. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden before the devil came in and caused a separation between God and man. God wants our fellowship. He longs to communicate with us as a father does his children.
     Prayer is two-way communication. It takes practice to have effective prayer because it takes time for us to be still long enough to listen for, and hear God’s voice. It’s not an audible voice. It’s like a thought or phrase that answers something you’ve been asking for, or a scripture verse long forgotten that suddenly comes to mind. God is a gentleman and never speaks loudly (unless He is very angry). The Bible tells us to "be still and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10)
     The Bible has a lot to say about prayer. Jesus spent much time in prayer. He had to keep in communication with his Father. He prayed for his disciples, that they would not falter or waiver in their faith. He prayed for all of those that he would come in contact with, that they would receive his message and be saved from the pits of hell. He prayed that they would receive the healing that would come through him. He prayed for the sisters of Lazarus when word came that he had died. Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead but it still grieved him that his friend had died and that his sisters were heartbroken. Finally, he prayed for his own strength, that he might continue to do the works of his Father.
     In my next blog I will talk more about how to pray. We are in a spiritual battle.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Discussion Please

     I wrote the last post to try to draw some discussion. Thank you to the two people who thought it was interesting. What I want to do here is to find out what you, the reader needs. This is mostly a counseling blog and I would very much like to help you find solutions to your family problems or help with whatever you are going through. I don't have all of the answers but there are many resources available to me. I care about people. There have been times in my life when I have been depressed. My husband and I have worked through some problems in our marriage and are much happier for having gone through those things (though we wouldn't want to repeat them!). We have had struggles with our children. I have seen other family members struggle with various issues. Some of my views may seem stern or harsh but that is never the intent. I am open to feedback. Counseling is two-way communication. Everything is private. You don't have to use your own name. I will never ask for an address or phone number because I don't trust internet privacy that much.
     I also enjoy discussion on political and religious topics. My only rules are: no cursing, and please be respectful in your communication. I will do the same.
     Aleta kay

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christians Have Lost Their Backbone!

     We live in the greatest country in the world and we have taken it for granted. Our nation was founded on religious freedom: the freedom to worship our God how, when and where we saw fit without government control. The Church of England was ruled and dictated by the British government. Our forefathers wanted the government to stay out of church business.
     Now, here we are almost 300 years since our nation's birth and we are back to the government telling us when and where we can worship. As Christians, we have sat back and allowed the atheists to win. Not only have the atheists won the worship battle; the sad thing is they have convinced us to be like them in our dress, our speech and our lack of modesty.
     We have changed the truth of God for a lie. We treat the Bible, God's holy Word, like a smorgasboard from which we can pick and choose what to believe and what to adapt to our own lives. We have become so worldly minded we are no heavenly good.
     If the world around us can't see how Jesus is working in our lives why would they want to be saved? By our actions and attitudes many have come to the conclusion that Jesus was nothing more than a good man, maybe a prophet, and that hell is just a figment of our imaginations. We should be ashamed.
     We allow our children to dress as scantily, or wrapped as tightly as possible. We allow our teens to make their own decisions about sex, movies, the music they listen to and the people they hang out with. We have abdicated our position and authority as parents. We are sitting back and watching our children rush toward hell and destroyed lives and all we can say is, "Well, we took them to church." Foolish people! Do you not know Satan goes to church too? He goes to stir up trouble. He puts his people there as well to tempt you and your children to not "take this religious thing too seriously."
     Almost everyone I know says they are a good person so they know they will go to heaven. Where in the Bible does it say good people go to heaven? For that matter where in the Bible is anyone called good? Even Jesus, when the servant came to him and asked, "Good master, what must I do to be saved?" Jesus answered and said, "Why do you call me good? There is one good: My Father in heaven." Who are you comparing yourself to? The murder on death row? The thief in the next neighborhood? The pedophile down the street? Who are you comparing yourself to that makes you think you are good? The prophet Jeremiah said all our righteousness is as filthy rags." The book of Romans (3:10) says there is none righteous. God will compare us only with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who ever lived a perfect sinless life. If we could be good enough to get to heaven then Jesus died for nothing. After all, wouldn't everyone want to be good and go to heaven if it was that easy?
     Jesus hung on a cruel cross and paid the penalty for our sins so we wouldn't have to go to hell and pay for them ourselves in the everlasting flames of a burning hell with a spritual  body that will never die. The only way we could be good enough to go to heaven if we never sinned, if we were perfect. Since we are not perfect, Jesus paid the price and took our sins upon himself.
     The question now is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue to allow the atheists to tell you how you live and when and where you can lift up the name of Christ, or are you going to get some backbone, stand up when given the opportunity and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord? Are you willing to tell others about His great love and sacrifice? Are you willing to, "Come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing?" (2 Corinthians 6:17)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Are You Robbing Your Children?

by Aleta Kay
     I’ve touched on this subject before but not from this angle. I’ll say it straight out: children need and deserve a father and a mother. The Bible has many passages referring to fathers, and many others pertaining to mothers. Each parent has a different function. Are you robbing your children of one of their parents?
     If a child grows up without a father who will teach that child what it means to be a man? Who will teach that child what it means to be a responsible father? Who will teach that child how a man should treat a woman?
     If a child grows up without a mother, who will teach that child what it means to be a mother? If the child is a little girl, who will teach her to grow up to be a lady? Who will teach her how to be a good mother to her children when she grows up? Who will teach her the household responsibilities of a committed, contented wife? Who will teach either child, male or female, how a woman should treat a man, how to be a good wife, or what qualities to look for in a wife?
     Children learn by example so if they have no example the chances of them having a fulfilled, life-long marriage are minimal.
     If you are not willing to have a committed, stable marriage yourself, you are by default teaching your children that relationships cannot be permanent. You are teaching them to expect heartache and misery, and you are teaching them to quit every time they become unhappy. You are robbing them of the chance of a happy marriage themselves.